Erdogan says Turkey backing FSA move on Idlib

Elements of Turkish Armed Forces, also known as TSK, will be positioned within the borders of the tension reduction zone determined for Idlib.

"Turkey will not hesitate to act for its own security when and where it is deemed necessary", Kalin said, adding that Turkey would continue what it did in the past "because it prioritises its own national interests".

HTS has pledged to keep fighting Syrian regime forces and their allies, casting doubt on the de-escalation agreement, but Ankara has worked to lure militants from it, and two groups have defected from the alliance.

Afrin, which is under the control of the Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG), has been dominating Ankara's agenda for a long time.

Erdogan told reporters the operation was led by FSA rebels and that the Turkish army was "not yet" operating inside Syria.

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The agreement came despite Russian Federation and Iran backing President Assad and Turkey wanting him gone.

Since early this year, it has battled other rebel groups in Idlib and other parts of Syria, while the government has mostly focused on the war against Islamic State in the east.

"We will absolutely not allow the creation of a terror corridor along our borders", said Erdogan in his speech.

"Are they going to hand over their weapons - we don't think this is going to be the case - or are they going to fight against the FSA and the Turkish army in the near future?" said Ahelbarra.

Residents near the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey in Syria sent Reuters photographs of what they said was a section of the frontier wall being removed by the Turkish authorities.

Turkish forces are preparing to enter Idlib province to support rebel forces opposing both the Syrian regime and insurgents, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Four children were among the dead in the early morning strikes on the Idlib province town of Khan Sheikhun on Friday and Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Erdoğan was also asked about whether the method to be used in the Idlib operation will be similar to the Euphrates Shield Operation. Turkey, however, has backed rebels seeking Assad's ouster.

  • Rogelio Becker